| Ramzi Chamat
In the quest for solutions to reduce CO2 emissions associated with construction, solar facades are emerging as a crucial innovation. In Switzerland, they represent a significant potential for generating clean energy and rethinking the sustainability of buildings. This article explores the role of solar facades and how they contribute to shaping the future of sustainable construction in Switzerland.
Buildings represent a significant portion of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In the face of the urgent need to reduce these emissions and combat climate change, attention is increasingly turning to building facades. In Switzerland, these facades play a central role in construction discussions, particularly concerning the integration of solar panels into their design. This article explores the crucial role of solar facades and their contribution to decarbonizing the construction sector.
The facades of buildings in Switzerland hold significant potential for solar energy production. It is estimated that they could contribute up to 20% of the country's total photovoltaic potential. This reality transforms our perception of construction: facades are no longer just aesthetic elements but essential players in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
To fully exploit this potential, several solar facade technologies are available:
Transparent Glass : This technology allows for the integration of photovoltaic cells directly into the glass of windows and facades, offering both adequate transparency and solar energy production.
Facade Coating : Companies like Kromatix offer facade coatings that combine aesthetics and energy production, with the option to customize colors and patterns.
Semi-Transparent Glass : This option provides partial transparency while generating electricity, suitable for certain applications where complete transparency is not necessary.
The integration of solar panels into facades cannot be arbitrary. Several criteria must be considered:
Location : Geographic location influences sunlight potential and, consequently, solar energy production.
Temperature : Temperature variations can affect the performance of solar panels.
Orientation : The building's orientation relative to the sun is crucial for maximizing solar energy production.
Tilt : The angle of panel tilt must be optimized to capture sunlight effectively.
Shading : Shadows, whether from other buildings or trees, can reduce the efficiency of solar panels.
In addition to integrating solar panels, it is essential to rethink the life cycle of facades to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Reusing construction materials emerges as a promising strategy.
Chloé Souque, project manager at BG Ingénieurs Conseils, emphasizes the urgency of action. She insists that even though the energy efficiency of Swiss building envelopes has improved, the overall environmental impact must be reduced. A recent comparative study of different facade types revealed that some are much more carbon-intensive than others. This underscores the need for a reuse approach in every construction project, regardless of its size.
To illustrate this approach, the team at BG Ingénieurs Conseils is currently working on options to reuse at least some of the 500 different types of materials identified on the site of the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva. Even in a large-scale project, reusing construction materials can significantly contribute to reducing the environmental impact.
In conclusion, solar facades are not limited to being a promising innovation in Switzerland. They embody the future of sustainable construction by providing a means to integrate clean energy production while rethinking the use of construction materials. In a world facing pressing climate challenges, solar facades light the way toward greener, more efficient, and responsible construction. Their widespread adoption in the Swiss construction sector will significantly contribute to decarbonizing buildings and achieving carbon neutrality goals by 2050. It's time to look to the sky, to facades that capture the energy of the sun and transform our vision of modern construction.